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San Ramon Valley Teachers Strike

Original post made by Alfred, Danville, on Mar 1, 2019

Parents: Please do NOT keep your children home from school if our teachers strike, as money from the Federal Government to our school district is based on attendance. Hence, for each student that stays home, less money is coming to our local schools. No matter what your opinion on the strike may be, it is important that our kids go to school, so that we do not lose money that goes directly to our local schools.

The teachers union is starting to ramp up their propaganda, and trying to fool us parents that their primary interest is what is best for our children.

The teachers union is called the teachers union because their primary interest is not our children,not us parents, and not the school district, but rather what is best for the teachers. Us parents already pay two parcel taxes and large property taxes to support them, not to mention donations every year to the school. The school board needs to stand up for the parents and the students, and not simply give the teachers union what they want. Teachers in our district are some of the highest paid in the region, and teach in a district with little to no violence, which is a real benefit to the teachers. We do not want to become like the Oakland schools or others where the board simply caves in to the teachers union and bankrupts our district.

If the teachers union primary concern was our children, they would never threaten a strike and use our children as bargaining chips, threatening to not write college recommendation letters, and shut down sports and other student activities during a strike.

If the teachers union primary concern was our children, they would not tell us parents to keep our children home during a strike, which results in huge financial losses to our district, as low attendance takes away Federal government money we would be entitled. Is the teachers union going to reimburse our district for the hundreds of thousands of dollars our district will lose if the parents listen to them and keep their children home during a strike? Of course not, as their primary concern is what is best for the teachers, not what is best for our children and us parents.

Comments (9)

9 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2019 at 7:01 am

Very surprised to read this opinion. Normally most articles have a liberal bias. My opinion is, all of these teachers who want to strike are being very selfish. They do not have our children’s best interest at heart. If they do not like their jobs, they should quit and find a different profession. SRVUSD teachers have it made, and elementary school teachers have volunteers doing half of their jobs. With that said, I do believe teachers should make more, and their unions should support them working while they support them behind the scenes.


4 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 5, 2019 at 11:42 am

"The union argues that the district has not been receptive to the teacher’s priorities, particularly over issues key to SRVEA members such as smaller class sizes, more nurses, teacher-librarians, counselors and mental health supports, as well as a cost of living increase."

Alfred you say "The school board needs to stand up for the parents and the students, and not simply give the teachers union what they want." Then it is sad to hear that you don't want smaller class sizes or more nurses or more teacher-librarians or more counselors or more mental health supporters. But it's all about what's best for the children right? and not your parcel taxes and your property taxes which disproportionately go to other school districts like Oakland Unified which gets more funding per pupil from the pooled state property taxes than SRVUSD.


6 people like this
Posted by Alfred
a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2019 at 12:13 pm

Chris@

Do you own a home in our area? Look at your recent property tax bill. There are TWO separate parcel taxes(not part of the huge property tax we already pay) that go directly to our local school district. The parcel taxes do not go to the state, they go to our local school district. The parcel taxes go directly to our local school district, just like the approximately $1000 we "volunteer" every school year to our local school district when register and sign up for classes. Us parents also volunteer to help in the classrooms, show up at every parent teacher conference, pay private tutors to supplement the education, and make sure our children are behaved and are not a distraction in the classes.

I have relatives who are teachers in other school districts and they are amazed how us parents make the teachers jobs so much easier in our district, compared to their districts where parents do not donate money, do not pay parcel taxes, do not volunteer in the classroom, and do not even show up at parent teacher conferences. Teachers in our district have a lot of benefits that teachers in other districts do not have, in addition to being some of the highest paid teachers in the region.

Working in our district is much better than working in most other districts, and it is due to the efforts, both financially and volunteer, of us parents. However, we are also highly educated, and see thru the rhetoric of the teachers union. If you care so much about our kids, how can you use them as your bargaining chips, threaten to strike, claim you will not write letters of recommendation, coach sports, and basically do as much harm as you can to our children?

If you need to strike, strike. But don't be fooled into thinking us parents are buying your labor union propaganda. We will send our children to school, we will not lose our federal funding by keeping our kids home. And if necessary, we will hire permanent new teachers from other districts who would much prefer to work in our schools than their gang infested violent atmospheres.


5 people like this
Posted by San Ramon Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 5, 2019 at 12:42 pm

The teachers in the San Ramon Valley are asking AGAIN! What they are getting paid is for a 10 month school year plus all of the other holidays that Corporate America doesn't recognize or provide as vacation. In addition, the benefits the SRVUSD teachers receive are some of the best in the region. I'd like to get basically free medical (no monthly premium) for my entire family WITH a choice of medical providers! And, if I already have medical insurance provided by a spouse, for example, the teachers get to pocket additional money per month! I haven't seen a raise in salary for years, but the teachers keep on getting bonuses and increase in salary. Let them go find another district with this pay structure, environment, benefit package and quality of life. It will be hard to find!

And, if you are looking to work for the SRVUSD, good luck! It's a closed network. The job will be posted externally and internally. They first look at candidates internally. If they can't find an internal candidate, then they can look externally - HOWEVER, if they can't find an external candidate in the pool they have - they are not allowed to go back to the internal candidates. So, it's too risky for them to think about hiring an external candidate. Look how long the jobs are posted. Maybe a week? Because someone has already been chosen internally.

The teachers are looking out for themselves - not the students. There is only so much money in the pot to be distributed for all the needs of the district. So, if salary wins out, what will the students get? Where do the teachers think the district is supposed to come up with more money and more money?


3 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 5, 2019 at 5:37 pm

@Alfred Yes, 2 parcel taxes go directly to the district and then the huge property tax goes to the State who then pools it and gives it out disproportionately to other districts. And by the way I'm not a teacher and if a teacher is threatening to do no school related work during a strike that is a bad consequence of teachers striking. As for issue of teachers striking, it seems that striking is an effective tool teachers have used in the past so we shouldn't be surprised that they're using it again.

We can argue all day about things that can't be measured so let's talk about your statement: "Working in our district is much better than working in most other districts." Looking at average teacher salary and student teacher ratio data from niche.com, see below, I don't think the data supports this argument.

Also the niche.com states 9.8% of teachers in SRVUSD are in their 1st or 2nd year so clearly this is not a closed hiring process as is stated by @San Ramon Resident. Looking at the district website, it has 2 medical plans: Kaiser and Western Health Advantage, the latter of which seems to include 5 medical groups, so the medical coverage isn't for any doctor. If we use the CALPER's cost for Kaiser as a basis, the medical plan costs between $9k and $24k, although a teacher may be able to get cheaper rates through their spouse. The district site also says teachers can get $450 a month for using their spouse's coverage which is a $5,400 value.

However you cut it, SRVUSD teachers aren't paid the highest and even the value of free medical is subjective. For a single teacher medical is worth about $9k and for a married teacher it can be worth less especially if their spouse has a job where the same coverage only costs $4,400 like it does for me. The salaries below do not paint a picture of SRVUSD as being the best district to work in, so maybe its time to start looking into the non-salary demands of teachers and start asking ourselves "is there an issue with nurses and counselors and mental health supporters that I'm not aware of?"

District - Avg Salary - Student:Teacher
Palo Alto Unified $106604 19:1
Pleasanton Unifed $104629 26:1
Mountain View (los Gatos) $104222 20:1
Mountain View (el monte) $102524 26:1
Los Gatos Unified $99108 21:1
Fremont Unified $96052 26:1
Brentwood Elementary $93544 26:1
Piedmont City Unified $90543 20:1
Lafayette Elementary $88199 24:1
Santa Clara $87192 24:1
Walnut Creek Elementary $85779 24:1
Dublin Unified $85315 25:1
Redwood City $84374 25:1
Castro Valley Unified $82718 25:1
Orinda Elementary $82533 22:1
Berkeley Unified $81130 20:1
San Ramon Valley Unified $77320 25:1
San Mateo Foster City $77208 24:1
San Jose $77156 24:1
Tracy Unified $76798 24:1
Mt Diablo Unified $76523 24:1
Alameda Unified $73280 23:1
Livermore Unified $71516 23:1
Pittsburgh Unified $70478 23:1
San Francisco $69006 22:1
Oakland Unified $56537 23:1


3 people like this
Posted by Alfred
a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2019 at 6:50 pm

Chris@

Your argument is that the free medical insurance we provide our teachers is "subjective"? Really? Please, educate yourself, go talk to some HR professionals, headhunters, and see how many other occupations receive absolute free medical insurance. The answer is zero, nada, zip. Every year for the last 15-20 years employers require their employees(except teachers) to pay more and more each month, with higher deductibles, for their health insurance. It will continue to increase. There is nothing "subjective" about this, it is a huge benefit they receive.

Please also ask those same HR professionals and headhunters how many occupations today receive pensions for life(besides teachers). The answer is the same: zero, nada, zip.

As to those average salaries, those are for working ten months of the year, with every possible paid holiday imaginable.

Finally, please use some logic skills. The teachers union wants more money and also want more "nurses and counselors and mental health supporters". There is a finite amount of money, despite what the teachers union claims, and us parents are taxed out and the well is dry. If we truly need more nurses and counselors and mental health supporters, and hire them, how are we suppose to have yet additional extra money laying around to give teachers yet more money? Pick your poison, more money for teachers, or money spent on more nurses and counselors and mental health supporters? We both know the teachers union answer to that: More money for teachers. After all, that is truly all this nonsense is about.


1 person likes this
Posted by Local Teacher
a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2019 at 8:19 pm

It makes me both sad and furious to read this article and review the comments. I am a teacher. I am married to a teacher in San Ramon.

First of all - none of these teachers "want" to strike. We want to be paid appropriately for the rewarding, albeit at times very challenging, job we do. Most teachers, my husband included, has a second - and at times has had a third - job in order to make ends meet. This is an expensive area to live in and simply stated teachers in this area cannot raise a family on a single teachers salary. Teachers do care about their students. Teachers want happy, well-educated students. Do you want exhausted, stressed teachers because they work 3 jobs and commute an hour to work? Yes, since 2008 San Ramon teachers have received a 14% increase in their pay. However, that number is relative. Social Security, basing their numbers on national averages, has adjusted 19% for Cost of Living. So while 14% may sound like a lot, it's not even cost of living. Things continue to get more expensive, but teachers aren't being paid enough to keep up with those rising numbers.

You are correct - Kaiser is free. Not entirely free, though; we probably spent about 10K on out of pocket expenses last year. That being said, Kaiser is not our preferred medical choice. We don't actually have a choice at all. We either take Kasier for "free" or pay $2000 a month to have a PPO and choose our doctor. It doesn't actually feel like a true benefit when I have no choice in my medical care.

So, 10 months. Sounds ideal, right? The average worker in the private sector works 50 weeks a year and gets 2 paid weeks of vacation. At 40 hours a week, that's 2000 hours a year of work. 2000 is approximate - sometimes they stay late. Sometimes they cut out a little early to beat traffic. My boss frowns upon my leaving early - apparently it's not wise to leave children unattended in a classroom. I guess every job has it's perks. But, I digress. Teachers - who only work 10 months of the year - put in more than the 8 hour teaching day. We have to prep for the day - lessons, copies, etc. And after we give them things to do, we have to grade it. We also have to respond to email, attend meetings, and write reports. My husband leaves for work at 6:15 and gets home around 5:30 every day. That's approximately 11 hours a day. The majority of nights he works at home too. Just can't pack it all in during the school day. Assuming 10 weeks of summer vacation, that's 42 weeks. Averaging 50 hours a work week (not counting weekends he and I spend in the classroom) that's 2100 hours. SO, in our 10 months we're packing in more hours than the average private sector employee works in a year.

It takes a village to raise a child. In a child's academic career, their teacher will spend more time with them then their parents will. You want us to nurture them, educate them, mold them into the bright minds that will shape our future generations - but at what cost? Teachers care deeply about our students. My husband and I love our jobs. But, we also love our family and in order to continue to raise our family in this area, we need a salary that supports the cost of living in this geographic region.

You claim San Ramon teachers don't care about the kids? Wrong. The teachers are doing this because they do care about their kids. They want to be able to afford to stay here and teach their classes in a healthy, professional environment. It's opinions like yours that set education back. It is societies inability to recognize the value of an educator and acknowledge the massive amount of time and energy they invest in your students beyond their "10 months" that forces teachers out of their classroom and onto the picket lines.

I think the questions we should be asking is: Do you care about your teachers?


3 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 5, 2019 at 10:13 pm

@Alfred How about I cut your salary by $100k and give you free healthcare? You take the deal because it is free medical care right? No, you look at the next best alternative, it's simple managerial accounting. Make $105k in Pleasanton and pay $5k out of pocket to get healthcare through your spouse or make $77k and get it for free. I hope you can do the math, but if not $105k - $5 = $100k > $77k. It isn't surprising that you don't understand this is subject since you aren't putting yourself into teachers' shoes.

I don't know about pensions, but apparently you can still find them outside of teaching. Web Link

As for pick your poison you assume teachers take a raise instead of hiring additional support employees the kids need or lowering class sizes. I'm perfectly fine paying more in parcel taxes to make sure my child is getting the best education possible which includes lowering class sizes, funding support positions and ensuring teacher salaries bring the best talent to our district.


2 people like this
Posted by JK
a resident of Danville
on Mar 6, 2019 at 6:07 am

@Alfredthetroll,

Obviously, you are an angry person and you live a sad life. I'm not even going to list your numerous inaccuracies. Except for this one. Teachers do NOT get paid holidays, nor do they get any paid vacation. They are contracted for 186 days and only get paid for those days they attend work, minus a few sick days. I think most jobs offer paid holidays and paid vacation, EXCEPT teachers. What teachers do have to do, is manage the pay they receive for 186 days over the entire year. That is why most set up a 'summer deferred fund" to offset the days we are not paid.


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